Behind the Counter at a local Japanese Okonomiyaki Restaurant

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Behind the Counter at a local Japanese Okonomiyaki Restaurant
This is behind the counter at Japan Okonomiyaki restaurant in Tokyo. Today, we’re going to a Tokyo hidden gem family owned, father and son Okonomiyaki Teppanyaki restaurant, called Saya in Sendagaya Tokyo. The restaurant was opened 27 years ago, and Yusuke, the owner’s son, runs the shop these days with plans to carry on the family business in the future. In the morning he first prepares the Osakayaki, an osaka style okonomiyaki which takes about 30 minutes to cook. It’s a popular dish that many customers order so he starts cooking it in advance to minimize customer wait times. Okonomiyaki itself is a Japanese-style pancake. It’s usually made with flour, eggs, yam, cabbage, and any other proteins as one prefers and it’s often flavored with dashi. It’s eaten as a meal or snack in Japan. It appears simple and easy enough to make but even slight differences in how it’s cooked and the ratio of the ingredients used can quickly yield an inconsistent dish. Only a true chef can create a consistent okonomiyaki that their customers can come to enjoy time after time. And hence why each okonomiyaki restaurant is unique in itself.

This is behind the counter at a local
japanese okonomiyaki restaurant
[Music]
so i’m back with another behind the
counter and this time it’s going to be a
hot one but like always before i start
if you want to see what i’m doing on the
daily check out my instagram account if
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check out the tokyo and japan merch and
if you have any questions about japan or
japan travels check out my discord
community that all said yusuke should be
arriving shortly
here we go i’m taking you inside to show
you again never seen before footage of
what really happens at super local mom
and pop japanese restaurants today we’re
going behind the counter at a family
owned father and son okonomiyaki tepan
restaurant called saya in sendagaya
tokyo the restaurant was open 27 years
ago and yusuke the owner’s son runs the
shop these days with plans to carry on
the family business in the future
good morning
so this is yusuke the manager and main
chef at the shop we’re in today his
father actually has a second tip on
yakishop which is nearby but it’s
reserved for mainly vip guests which the
father is in charge of
yusuke is usually the first one to
arrive at 9 30 so what time are the
staff coming
oh cool he’s changed into his uniform
one of the first things he does is turn
on the tap on grill tip on an english
meaning metal plate which is where the
food is cooked on apparently it takes a
while for the steel tapon to warm up
[Music]
he has about half an hour before the
other stuff arrives so he makes use of
this time to prepare the kitchen are you
from tokyo
when you were young did you think you
would be a chef yeah
cool how did you get your started
what
[Music]
now he prepares the rice for today he
prefers to pre-soak the rice overnight
all the while keeping it refrigerated to
maintain the quality on average uses
about four kilograms almost nine pounds
of rice per day opting to use koshi
hikari one of the most popular rice
bands in japan
[Music]
so yusuke is 34 years old and in total
he’s been working at the shop for about
15 years which is almost half of his
entire life in fact he was only seven
years old when his father first started
the restaurant so it’s always been very
much part of his life
at 10 he sets up the store front the
wooden sign is slipping now reads that
the shop is in the middle of getting
ready which still means it’s closed but
it’ll be opening soon
that’s morigeo it’s a traditional
japanese custom where a pile of salt is
placed at the front entrance to ward off
bad luck
oh the owner yusuke’s dad is here so can
i ask why did you start this restaurant
back then he had the option to choose
whatever restaurant he wanted to start
but he decided on teppanyaki because he
thought it was the coolest japanese food
[Music]
oh nelly it’s so hot back here
now yusuke prepares a miso soup a
traditional japanese dish generally
consisting of dashi stock and miso paste
and then varies depending on the region
and personal preference often included
in a typical japanese breakfast but also
served at lunch and dinner such as in
the shop as it complements the main dish
eggs are another ingredient that the
shop uses a lot he only uses high
quality domestic eggs from places like
okukujiran in ibaraki and date tamago
and fukushima oh wow i don’t usually see
shops adding eggs into their miso soup
it’s great that his own family
traditions have made it into their
everyday menu
[Music]
[Music]
why’d
oh the rice is ready so what did you do
before this job
are you from tokyo as well
apparently he got this job through his
mom who knew use case dad which allowed
him to start working right after he
moved to tokyo oh another worker is here
what’s that
oh what ingredients do you add
i feel you gotta keep the shop secret
sauces secret
the ac doesn’t go there
oh damn are you gonna fix it
really
so what do you love most about being a
teppanyaki chef
[Music]
[Music]
dad’s back can i ask you another
question
what do you think makes this shop stand
out from the rest
of
your life
as i briefly mentioned before the father
runs a separate membership only vip
teppanyaki restaurant just a few
buildings away i’ve never seen it before
so i’m excited to have a look oh it has
a completely different vibe
let’s be honest the prices here must be
different right
you’re laughing do you work during lunch
time yeah
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[Music]
it’s 11 now 30 minutes before the shop
opens so yusuke starts cooking the
takeout dishes he also prepares the
osaka yaki an osaka-style okonomiyaki
which takes about 30 minutes to cook
it’s a popular dish that many customers
order so he starts cooking it in advance
to minimize customer wait times
okonomiyaki itself is a japanese style
pancake it’s usually made with flour
eggs yam cabbage and other proteins as
one prefers and it’s often flavored with
dashi in japan it’s eaten as a meal or a
snack
now he’s making hiroshima yaki for
takeout which is a hiroshima style
okonomiyaki made up of layers of
ingredients without mixing in advance
and are sandwiched between the
crepe-like thin pancakes
and noodles are definitely a signature
ingredient of hiroshima yaki in addition
to making sure that each layer is
perfectly cooked flat so it stacks up
evenly
[Music]
wow that looks so good
do you prefer osaka style or hiroshima
salad
it appears simple and easy enough to
make but even slight differences in how
it’s cooked and the ratios of
ingredients used can quickly yield an
inconsistent dish only a true chef can
create a consistent okonomiyaki that
their customers can come to enjoy time
after time and hence why each
okonomiyaki restaurant is unique in
itself
how long have you been working here
and how old are you
why did you decide to work here
got it and what are your
responsibilities
now it’s time to prep the noodles the
worker needs to wash it break it apart
then add oil to ensure that it doesn’t
stick to the tap on grill
so what do you do when you’re not
working
do you go by yourself
[Music]
finally they’re open for business
oh the first customers are already here
the seeds are filled up pretty quickly
and yusuke immediately begins cooking
several orders all at one time at max he
can make up the 24 okonomiyaki all at
the same time that’s some real
multitasking and apparently when he’s
making all of the orders he plays hard
rock and puck music in his head to get
into his zone
this whole process is made even more
efficiently with teamwork as one person
cooks while the other finishes the
plating which includes saucing toppings
and sides and then once plated is
immediately taken out to the customer’s
table quite an efficient team and each
full one set around 800 yen about 5.85
cents
[Music]
damn given all these orders you must
already be tired
damn the way you poured that chicken
bone soup though
that’s some next level style i love it
as a second generation restaurant owner
it used to be difficult for usekay to be
compared to his father early on his
career but over the years as he honed
and mastered his skills he doesn’t feel
that same pressure anymore and looks
forward to creating the best okonomiyaki
as possible so what’s the most
challenging part about managing a
teppanyaki restaurant
have any of your previous workers
started their own restaurants
when the orders slow down on the tip on
grill usa of course helps out on the
floor serving and cleaning
[Music]
that’s a lot of dishes
by the way have you ever wanted to open
your own restaurant
oh nice apparently he used to work at an
italian restaurant before working here
but says that now he’s trying to gain as
much experience as possible from this
restaurant so he’ll be well prepared
when he tries to start his own cafe in
fact he also helps the owner’s cafe
during lunchtime so he gets double the
experience here
as the overall lunchtime rush slows down
the workers are preparing for dinner in
the back
[Music]
finally the lunch hour is done
[Music]
oh yusuke is cleaning the grill after
cooking burn marks are naturally left on
the tap on to ensure that it’s able to
be used for many years he performs a
deep scrub and clean each time after
every shift restoring it back to its
original shine
meanwhile the staff prepare the toshi
for dinner otoshi is an appetizer dish
that customers are offered when they
arrive in exchange for a table charge
this dining custom is common for many
japanese bars and drinking restaurants i
guess today he’s making a miso flavored
pork and vegetable saute and although
it’s just a small dish for atoshi it’s
clear that it cries a lot of effort to
prepare but this is probably why the
shop is a favorite among locals
it smells amazing now he prepares lunch
do you know what you’re making
[Music]
that’s a lot of eggs for just three
people
oh it’s also for the workers at the
other teppanyaki shops
it smells so delicious interestingly at
this shop they change the menu every
single day they almost never have the
same thing in over a month so he decided
to make a pork and shrimp garlic fried
rice
today the youngest worker is responsible
for making makhani which is the meal in
japan offered by the shop to its workers
apparently they take turns making luck
and i every day and today it’s his turn
geez it looks phenomenal
how’s the taste good
damn do you usually eat this much
[Music]
after muk and i it’s fairly common in
japan for workers to take a nap in the
shop before the long dinner hours ahead
and that’s another one in the books if
you want to visit this shop and
experience it yourself i’ll be sure to
leave a link in the description but
that’s pretty much another one behind
the counter if you guys like this video
like always help me out and hit that
like button if you guys want to see more
videos like this or anything related to
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catch you guys in the next one

 

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